Tether freezes $873K USDT linked to terrorist activity in Ukraine, Israel

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Stablecoin issuer Tether has moved to freeze 32 addresses linked to terrorist activity in Israel and Ukraine in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies.

$873,118 worth of Tether (USDT) linked to illicit activity in Israel and Ukraine have been frozen, according to an announcement from the company. The action was taken in collaboration with Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing.

Paolo Ardoino, who was appointed as Tether CEO in October, highlighted the fact that cryptocurrency transactions are easily traced on blockchain platforms, enabling Tether to assist in blocking the use of USDT linked to terrorist funding.

“Contrary to popular belief, cryptocurrency transactions are not anonymous; they are the most traceable and trackable assets.”

The CEO added that the stablecoin issuer is actively working with global law enforcement agencies to track and trace the illicit movement of funds and, where possible, freeze assets linked to criminal and terrorist activity.

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In late 2022, Tether had frozen over $360 million in assets. The company subsequently re-issued over $100 million of USDT that had been intercepted.

Related: Tether stablecoin loans rise in 2023 despite downsizing announcement in 2022

The company now estimates it has frozen a total of $835 million of USDT, mainly associated with blockchain and cryptocurrency exchange hacks. Tether has worked with 32 countries worldwide to address illicit cyber activity involving its dollar-backed stablecoin.

In June 2023, Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant announced that the country had seized cryptocurrency wallets containing millions of dollars transferred to the terrorist organization Hezbollah.

Using Chainalysis’ blockchain analysis tools, over $1.7 million of cryptocurrency was seized in the operation.

Meanwhile, blockchain data indicates that cybercriminals have moved away from using Bitcoin (BTC) to transfer value over the internet, preferring to use stablecoins and altcoins due to their accessibility and ability to be laundered through decentralized exchanges.

Magazine: Beyond crypto: Zero-knowledge proofs show potential from voting to finance

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